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The Best Places to Visit in Colombia

The Best Places to Visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia
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After spending two months of (sluggish) journey in Colombia, right here’s my checklist of the perfect locations to go to in Colombia and what to see and do once you’re there.

This article isn’t meant to be an in depth information to the nation, extra of a taster of the issues to do in Colombia throughout a primary go to. Whether you have got every week, a month or extra, listed here are a few of my highlights from my go to to Colombia.

Best Places to Visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia
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Note: these locations listed beneath are in broad geographic sequence from north to south – they don’t seem to be ordered by choice!

Cartagena

A gorgeous Spanish Colonial walled metropolis with high-end eating places and loads of sights, be sure you have sufficient days to discover Cartagena. It was the place to begin for my journey to Colombia, and never solely did it turned out to be an ideal and simple introduction to the nation, it was one among my favorite spots total. In truth, I favored it a lot, that after I acquired an opportunity to pop in for a second keep, I jumped on the alternative.

Things To Do In Cartagena

Wander the previous city

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Cartagena is just not brief on sights and getting misplaced in the previous city is maybe top-of-the-line methods to discover. That mentioned, Plaza Bolivar, the Spanish Inquisition museum and the Convent of San Pedro Claver had been three of my favorite sights in Cartagena.

Did you understand: there have been solely three places in all of Latin America the place the Spanish Inquisition Tribunal happened – Lima in Peru, Mexico City in Mexico and Cartagena in Colombia.

Pro Travel Tip: if you happen to’re in town on the final Sunday of the month, entry to the museums is free.

Eat – rather a lot

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I’ll be trustworthy, after two months in Colombia, I developed meals melancholy – some type of protein served with dry rice, stable beans and slimy salad doesn’t sate my urge for food, notably once you face the identical stuff day after day. But the meals in Cartagena is a distinct story. From superb native meals to high-end bistro choices to scrumptious road meals, Cartagena is a world aside when it comes to Colombian eating.

My favorite locations:

  • Carmen: reputed to be top-of-the-line eating places in town (and at the moment rated #1 restaurant in Cartagena on TripAdvisor)
  • La Mulata: if all Colombian meals tasted this good, certainly it could go international.
  • The road meals – arepas full of cheese and the ceviche and seafood cocktails are notably good.

Visit Playa Blanca

The seashores in Cartagena are sadly a disappointing shade of lifeless brown. Despite fronting the Caribbean, Cartagena’s seashores are missing…Playa Blanca (translation: white seashore) is a distinct matter and could be reached by day journey from Cartagena.

Where to keep in Cartagena

On a finances: I stayed at El Viajero which was clear and effectively positioned inside the previous city – although if you happen to’re not a celebration individual, take ear plugs!

For resorts: Here’s an inventory of the 10 finest resorts in Cartagena (in accordance to Trip Advisor). On my bucket checklist is the Santa Clara Hotel which is without doubt one of the most luxurious choices – a Sofitel resort positioned inside a former convent full with seventeenth Century structure. Unsurprisingly, the Santa Clara Hotel is without doubt one of the Travelers’ Choice Winners for Cartagena on Trip Advisor with Radisson Cartagena Ocean Pavillion Hotel being the opposite winner.

Location, location, location

But, maybe extra importantly than which resort is the place (inside Cartagena) to keep.

Cartagena’s previous city is my suggestion. Your different different – Bocagrande – might function plenty of the large model resorts and should entrance the seashore, however the environment, full with exhaust-fume crammed roads and fast-food chains galore could be very, very ugly. For a way more stunning expertise, be sure you keep inside the walled metropolis.

Best excursions in Cartagena:

Guided City Tour of Cartagena – this tour consists of well-known La Popa and San Felipe Castle

Taka a Playa Blanca day journey from Cartagena, together with lunch

Segway Tour of CartagenaOnce upon a time I believed Segways had been for lazy individuals..after which I attempted one and have since determined it’s probably the most enjoyable methods your can get round. Wheeeeeeeeeeee.

Pro Travel Tip: Humidity in Cartagena runs at about 80% and could be brutal. Build in some slow-moving days as you acclimatise and if you happen to’re not good sleeping in the warmth, be sure that your room has air-conditioning for the night.

Santa Marta

First: the bald reality – Santa Marta doesn’t maintain a lot allure itself and the seashores are not any extra stunning than people who skirt Cartagena, however Santa Marta does function an ideal “jumping-off” level for different places. That mentioned, earlier than you cruise on by means of, it’s value spending an evening or two to discover.

Things To Do In Santa Marta

Dine Al Fresco in Parque Los Novios

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Although not particularly grand or huge, the previous city of Santa Marta could be very nice at night time and is the perfect place for excellent meals. Spend a night eating al fresco with out the rip-roaring noise of automobiles and motorbikes that burden many different places in Colombia.

I can notably advocate Ouzo for excellent Mediterranean meals when the hen and rice choices get an excessive amount of.

Day (or night time) journey to Taganga

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Taganga – not the prettiest seashore…so you might have considered trying to skip staying there.

The second I lay eyes on Taganga, full with garbage strewn everywhere in the seashore, motorbikes pumping fumes into the environment and music screeching into what little air that wasn’t already crammed, I knew it wasn’t a spot I needed to say. However, Taganga has a kicking nightlife and is well-know for it’s scuba diving alternatives. Only 10 minutes by taxi from Santa Marta, you possibly can fulfill your curiosity with out having to bunk down there.

El Mirador – a membership overlooking the bay – is a favorite occasion spot.

Where to keep in Santa Marta

On a finances: I stayed atThe Dreamer Hostel which not solely features a pool, hammocks, bar, restaurant, a kitchen and TV room, this place had among the friendliest workers I met in Colombia. On the draw back, the hostel is in a quiet, residential location however there are common, low cost taxis camped exterior and the hostel is inside strolling distance of a giant grocery store and mall.

For resorts: Here’s an inventory of the 10 finest resorts in Santa Marta (in accordance to Trip Advisor) and the three winners of the Travelers’ Choice Awards go to: Zuana Beach Resort (that pool would win me over), Casa de Isabelle and Irotama Resort.

Tayrona National Park

If you solely make it to one seashore on the mainland of Colombia, make it one of many seashores dotting the coast of Tayrona National Park. Trust me: you received’t remorse it.

Things To Do In Tayrona National Park

Hike by means of the park

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Walk quietly and also you would possibly catch feeding time!

One of the perfect factor about Tayrona National Park is that the seashores contained inside it require a little bit of effort to get to. That retains vacationer numbers comparatively low and makes the paths really feel a bit such as you’re wandering by means of the wilderness.

Sleep in a hammock on prime of the rock at Cabo San Juan

Read more: Is Colombia Safe for travel? 2022 INSIDER GUIDE

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There’s a small handful of lodging inside Tayrona National Park and sleeping in one of many hammocks on the rock at Cabo San Juan seashore supplies among the finest morning views you’ll ever see.

Where to keep in Tayrona National Park

Pro Travel Tip: Hammock area on prime of the rock is proscribed and widespread. As you possibly can’t e-book on-line or in advance, begin your journey to the park early to be sure you safe a spot.

If you favor to e-book in advance: there are three choices on Trip Advisor: Villa Maria Tayrona, Tayrona Tented Lodge, and Posadas Ecoturisticas Seineken.

Head inland to discover the close by seashores

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The double bay is gorgeous however try different seashores in the park too.

The double-bay at Cabo San Juan is gorgeous however if you happen to’re on the lookout for a bit extra seclusion, head inland and proceed across the bay. Within round 10 minutes you’ll come out at a seashore that’s a lot much less crowded.

In the pursuits of full-disclosure (actually for some individuals), that is the place the daring come to sunbathe nude. So lengthy as that doesn’t embarrass you an excessive amount of, you’ll discover the nudist seashore a way more placid area to spend the day. (Good information: regardless of it being a nudist seashore, you received’t get heckled for protecting your bathers on!)

Take a velocity boat again to Taganga

Hiking into Tayrona was enjoyable, however simply as thrilling was the velocity boat again to Taganga. It saves a protracted trek over already-trodden floor, successfully buys you an additional day on the seashore (boast go away late afternoon) and can get you again a lot faster.

How to get to Tayrona National Park

From Santa Marta you possibly can take an area bus to Tayrona National Park. Once there, you enter the park, pay an entry charge ($38,000 pesos – round £12/$19). For a pair extra {dollars}, you possibly can catch a collectivo (minibus) to the beginning of the park trails. To stroll would take quarter-hour.

From the park path, take the route in the direction of Areciffe – a nice stroll of round 2.5 hours by means of woodland. Once you attain Arrecife you possibly can select to hire one of many lodges, tents or hammocks. Alternatively you possibly can proceed on for an additional half-hour to attain Cabo San Juan, the place you may as well hire a tent or hammock.

If you’re actually anti-camping, there’s a four-bed room ($200,000 pesos – round £60/$100) accessible on the prime of the rock at Cabo San Juan full with one double mattress and a bunk mattress. There are additionally some lodges inside the park.

Pro Travel Tips

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  • The lodging at Arrecife is superior however the seashore and views at Cabo San Juan are higher.
  • In a selection between renting a tent or a hammock, select a hammock – with the day’s solar on them, the tents get tremendous sizzling.
  • Beware: swimming is harmful at Arrecife. It’s very protected at Cabo San Juan.
  • Take all the cash that you simply’ll want as a result of there are not any ATMs and you may’t pay by card.
  • To finances, take into account that hammocks are $20,000 to $25,000 per night time. Breakfast prices round $10,000 and important meals price $15,000 to $30,000. All drinks (water, beer, soft-drinks) are $4,000.
  • Do not go with out mosquito repellant and a torch.
  • The showers are very “rustic” and there aren’t lots of them so be ready.
  • Just take a day-pack – mountaineering into the park full with its humidity will probably be punishing with something greater than 5kg in your again. Pack gentle.

Palomino

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Things To Do In Palomino

I confess that I solely lasted one night time in Palomino courtesy of the mosquitos that had been so decided to feast on my blood that they managed to chunk me by means of my garments and regardless of my repellant. Add a severe bout of rain and dampness hanging in the air, and also you’ll perceive why I bailed the day after I acquired there.

However, assuming you don’t flip up in the center of October (in the course of the wet season), Palomino is a fairly, coastal escape. Not as humid or densely populated as Cartagena or Santa Marta, it’s an ideal seashore spot if you happen to’re trying to get away from all of it.

Dwell in a tiki hut

The Tiki huts in Palomino added an actual seashore really feel to Palomino. With hammocks hanging exterior and an on-site restaurant and bar, you possibly can actually lose a day swinging in the breeze. (Dorms and personal rooms accessible).

Visit the seashore

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It nonetheless won’t be the golden sands of the close by Caribbean islands, however the seashore at Palomino was broader, longer and had water you would swim in safely.

Enjoy the native bus from Santa Marta

I didn’t see any precise chickens on the native bus from Santa Marta to Palomino however there was loads of Reggaeton music and meals distributors. At one level I used to be sat on a 20kg bag of canine biscuits whereas holding a group of mops for a person who was hanging out of the door (no different area to stand). If you’re on the lookout for an area Colombian expertise, the bus to Palomino (full with views of the jungle inside and sprawling coast) will tick the field.

Where to keep in Palomino

On a finances: I stayed atTiki huts in Palomino which had been advisable to me and after a fairly lengthy keep on the Dreamer Hostel in Santa Marta (and it’s common occasion nights), I used to be prepared for a little bit of quiet time. However, if you happen to do need someplace a bit extra full of life or completely loved The Dreamer Hostel in Santa Marta, you’ll be happy to know there’s a sister The Dreamer Hostel in Palomino.

For resorts: Palomino is tiny so there are only some resort selections. Here are the preferred choices (in accordance to Trip Advisor) with Hotel Playa Mandala (and it’s stunning netted beds) profitable the the Travelers’ Choice Awards. If you’re in a resort’s inexperienced credentials, eco boutique resort Aite has achieved Platinum Level as a Green Leader.

Medellin

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Things To Do In Medellin

I actually had to pull myself away from Medellin, which shocked me as a result of at first sight (on Google photos) it regarded like nothing greater than one other over-populated, over-polluted South American City. And it’s these issues. But it’s additionally a lot extra. There’s an intangible vibe in Medellin that saved me there week after week and I’m positive will pull you in too.

Take language courses

I spent two weeks in Medellin selecting up extra Spanish in Colombia, which was extraordinarily helpful given, out of all of the Latin American international locations I’ve visited, the Colombian individuals communicate the least English.

If you’re in studying some (or extra) Spanish when you’re in Colombia, try my article:

Why Medellin is the Best Place to Learn Spanish In Colombia

Hit a basement salsa membership in Laureles

While 90% of the Medellin’s vacationers wander across the western bars that fill El Poblado, you’re really a lot better off exploring the basement salsa golf equipment of Laureles. 100% native and assured to have you ever sweating in seconds, if you need to get down and salsa, this space is an efficient (and protected) place to do it.

Pro journey tip: skip the lodging in El Poblado and get a extra native expertise by staying in Laureles. I stayed in each areas and by far most popular the latter. I can extremely advocate the Wandering Paisa full with a weekly cultural change (native Colombians will come and observe their English when you get to chat some Spanish), month-to-month open-mic nights and free salsa courses.

Dorms and personal rooms accessible.

Don’t miss the free City Walking Tour

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Want to perceive the advanced historical past of Colombia and its warring factions? Want to perceive how Medellin, which was as soon as residence to drug lord Pablo Escobar and possessed the title of homicide capital of the world, has turned itself round? Take the free City Walking Tour.

Pro journey suggestions

  • you want to e-book the City Walking Tour in advance on-line.You can e-book right here.
  • though the tour is free, the information works on suggestions. $30,000 (round £10/$15) is the advisable quantity and I can guarantee you that the tip value is value it.

If you favor a non-public tour, this can be a highly regarded and well-priced choice – Medellín: Private City Tour with Metrocable and Comuna 13

Visit Parque Arvi

Read more: Is it Safe to Travel in Colombia?

Located excessive in regards to the metropolis and reached by two cable automobiles (one connects to the opposite), benefit from the peace that finds you as you sail above town after which over the dense forest of Parque Arvi.

If you’re in the temper, rent a information and go exploring on the prime. If you’re feeling lazy or frugal, keep on because the cable automotive and wind again down to the underside.

Take a Pablo Escobar Tour

Admit it, you’re fascinated! If you need to know extra in regards to the notorious Medellin drug lord, hop on this best-selling guided tour: Medellin The Real Pablo Escobar Tour.

Where to keep in Medellin

On a finances: I checked out bunch of hostels after I was in Medellin and by far my favorite place was The Wandering Paisa. Continually attracting bunch of individuals and with a incredible sequence of occasions from open mic nights to language change nights (involving the Medellin Couchsurfing crowd), you’ll be onerous pushed to discover a extra social place. Don’t be delay by the truth that this hostel is away from the others – it’s in a extra native space that, IMO, is extra a extra enjoyable (loads of bars and eating places) and attention-grabbing place to be.

If you do need to keep in Poblado (the principle vacationer space), then try Saman Hostel. Small however completely fashioned and, most significantly, simply throughout the street from Parque Lleras the place all of the bars and eating places are scattered, Saman is a superb choice. And if you happen to’re trying to take language courses at Toucan Spanish (the place I took classes), you’re only a few minutes’ stroll away.

For resorts: You received’t be brief on selection when it comes to resorts in Medellin – listed here are the 10 finest resorts in Medellin (in accordance to Trip Advisor) and, if you happen to’re having fun with a beneficial change charge in opposition to the Colombian peso, you’d do effectively to improve to one of many extra luxurious choices in town. You can discover the 10 finest luxurious resorts in Medellin right here. Although The Charlee isn’t prime of the luxurious checklist, it’s probably the most iconic buildings in town and if nothing else, it is best to not less than make a journey for a cocktail and views from the bar on the prime.

Apartment rental – If you’re staying longer than a number of days, try Snapstays – began by a few guys who had been pissed off on the lack of dependable leases (and wi-fi) once they needed to hire for long run stays, Snapstays has only some places in the mean time however fortunately one among them is Medellin.

Guatape

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Things To Do In Guatape

If I had a imaginative and prescient of what Colombia would possibly appear like, it was most likely Guatape. Bright, daring and exquisite, don’t miss this tiny city only a few hours exterior of Medellin.

Hike up El Peñon

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Before you attain Guatape (if you happen to’re approaching the bus from Medellin), you’ll be tossed off the bus at El Peñon, an enormous rock that screams “climb me”.

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Even if you happen to’re not into (or are over) climbing, take the 625+ steps to the highest for among the finest views you’ll get in all of Colombia. Promise.

Pro journey tip: e-book your return bus ticket as quickly as you get to Guatape. Although the buses go away recurrently, seats, notably in the direction of the tip of the day, refill quick.

Try Bandeja Paisa

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If you eat just one Bandeja Paisa in Colombia, make it the Bandeja Paisa on the small restaurant in your left as you exit the steps of El Peñon. I shared a plate and was nonetheless stuffed however I undoubtedly may have consumed extra of the views (over the lakes) as I ate.

Photograph the colorful streets of Guatape

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Make positive you’ve acquired loads of area in your reminiscence card earlier than you get to Guatape since you’re going to want it. There’s no actual advised itinerary for the city apart from to wander round and discover what you discover.

Day journey to Guatape from Medellin

You can take the bus to Guatape however it’s sluggish. If you need a simple choice, at the present time journey consists of Guatape, El Penon and a ship journey – From Medellín: Guatape & El Peñol Rock Trip with Boat Tour

Where to keep in Guatape

On a finances: Sadly, I didn’t take the time to spend an evening in Guatape, which is one among my regrets from my time in Colombia. However, if I used to be going to return, I’d try Lake View Hostel.

For resorts: Guatape is one other tiny place so as soon as once more there are only some resort selections. Here are the preferred choices (in accordance to Trip Advisor).

Bogota

Things To Do In Bogota

Lots of people write-off Bogota and I admit there’s a barely sketchy really feel to the place, notably round La Canderlaria after 9pm, but it surely’s nonetheless value a few nights keep so you possibly can see the principle sights.

Visit the gold museum

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If you’re solely going to go to one museum in Colombia, make it the gold museum in Bogota. Comprising the biggest assortment of Pre-Hispanic gold work in the world, not solely do you get to see a number of gold (what else?), it’s an ideal perception into the approach to life of Colombia’s ancestors.

Day journey to the Salt Cathedral

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Don’t snicker, however I didn’t actually grasp the idea till I used to be practically 200 metres underground that the salt cathedral was really a cathedral (and never only a cave with gentle streaming into giving the imaginative and prescient of a cathedra)! As you move the Stations of the Cross and not far away into the larger caverns, the “wow”s simply carry on coming.

The light-show that’s included in the entry value is mediocre at finest however the video explaining the historical past and details about salt mining in the area is just not to be missed.

Pro journey tip: Start out early. The cathedral is a good trek from the centre of Bogota. Or, even higher, hop on a Salt Cathedral Tour and have all of the transport sorted for you.

Head up Montserrat

I ran out of time in Bogota so didn’t get the possibility to head up the mountain aspect to Montserrat, but it surely’s supposedly one of many highlights of town and I can solely think about the views you would possibly recover from the basin of town, notably round sundown.

You can get there by cable automotive, or, if you happen to’re recreation, take the 1,500 steps (it makes El Peñon appear like little one’s play).

Explore Bogota on a guided tour

If you’re a bit uncertain about getting your self across the metropolis, hop on a tour. This Private Candelaria Walking Tour consists of the Gold Museum

Where to keep in Bogota

On a finances: Most of Bogota’s hostels are positioned in the Candelaria district of town, which I discovered to be fairly protected (although anyplace in Bogota I’d desire a chum with me after darkish). It’s additionally inside strolling distance of locations just like the Gold Museum in addition to loads of bars and eating places. I stayed at The Cranky Croc which I loved a lot I booked for a second keep after a quick jaunt to San Andres (see beneath).

For resorts: With all the things from the Four Seasons to the Ramada, you’ll have the total worldwide resort scene at your disposal in Bogota in addition to a wide variety of native resorts. Here are the 10 Best Hotels in Bogota (in accordance to Trip Advisor) lots of which have acquired Travelers’ Choice standing together with Morrison 114 Hotel, Bogota Marriott Hotel and the Orchids Hotel.

Salento

Things To Do In Salento

Salento was by far one among my favorite locations in Colombia…and never simply because it’s in the espresso area (although that actually helped). Surrounded by rolling inexperienced hills and stretching countryside, it was good to take a deep breath of (skinny, altitude) air in Salento.

Go mountaineering in Cocora Valley

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Regardless of the truth that the climate was depressing (I used to be past my ankles in mud at some spots) and the wax palm bushes, that are one of many highlights of the trek, had been obscured in mist more often than not, the Cocora Valley hike was probably the most enjoyable days I had in Colombia. Playing Tarzan as you cross precarious wood bridges hanging on by threads of rope and mountaineering up to a curious buzzing chicken hut for a watery sizzling chocolate and chunk of too-salty cheese, the hike was like no different I’d achieved earlier than.

The hike takes round 5 hours (if you happen to take the route up to the buzzing chicken hut and loop again to the beginning) and entails round half-hour of painful up-hill trekking, but it surely’s effectively well worth the jaunt.

Read more: Is Colombia Safe? Your Colombia South American Travel Advisory

Pro journey tip: to get to the beginning of the path, take one of many shared jeeps from the centre of Salento.

Stay at La Serrana

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The view from La Serrana.

I don’t often take into account a :place to keep” a “thing to do” however I’m making an exception for La Serrana. As a lot a vacation spot as it’s a type of lodging, this previous farmhouse about quarter-hour’ stroll exterior of Salento city is the perfect place to keep in the world. With a household dinner in the country kitchen every night time (weekdays) and a nightly bonfire and marshmallow roasting, La Serrana is the place to actually benefit from the mountain location. Swing in a hammock, stroll across the grounds or simply sit and sip some wine at night time, La Serrana is the antidote to overstuffed hostels or soul-less resorts you would possibly frequent elsewhere in Colombia.

Visit a espresso plantation

You’re in espresso nation, so why not take a stroll round a espresso plantation to discovered how the beans make it from the plant to your cup. If you keep at La Serrana, flip left on the entrance and with a 4-kilometre downhill stroll, you’ll end up at Don Elias. The tour is easy however the free espresso on the finish is a way more advanced and engaging affair.

Play Tejo

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What’s tejo you would possibly ask? Well, think about Boules (you understand, the place you throw balls as shut as attainable to the goal ball – the jack), however as a substitute of throwing balls at a jack, you’re lobbing metallic weights at gunpowder. That’s tejo. Hold a beer in hand and picture you’re competing in the Colombia championships (sure, they exist) and also you’ll do rather a lot higher.

Pro journey journey: if you happen to be a part of the espresso tour from Don Elias, an area man will take you to his teko restaurant. Eat the meals (it’s glorious and really inexpensive) and also you get to play Tejo free of charge!

Go horse using

I personally haven’t gotten again in the saddle since a horse tried to decapitate me with a tree department in the Pantanal in Brazil, however nonetheless, horse using is a highly regarded exercise in Salento. Good luck with that.

Where to keep in Salento

On a finances (or not!): I’ve already nailed my flag to the mast on the subject of the place to keep in Salento – whether or not you’re trying a mattress with bunks or after one thing extra personal I can’t advocate La Serrana sufficient. Don’t consider me? Check out the Trip Advisor evaluations.

For resorts/extra central location: If you’re on the lookout for a resort that’s positioned in the centre, listed here are the 5 finest resorts in Salento (in accordance to Trip Advisor). For location, value and cuteness, I’d select Hotel Salento Real.

Cali

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Things To Do In Cali

Gritty and groovy, Cali attracts in foreigners for its well-known salsa nightlife.

Take salsa courses

If you don’t need to flip up to Cali’s nightclubs with wood hips, get some observe first. Salsa courses are as endemic in Cali as plantain however earlier than you e-book, be sure that there aren’t free courses on provide at your hostel or resort.

Wander the previous city (San Antonio) (by day)

Some name San Antonio Cali’s hipster space. I wouldn’t go fairly that far, however this enclave of winding streets is value half a day’s exploration.

Be cautious

In all actually, it wasn’t till I used to be researching the crime statistics for an article about Safety in Mexico that I realised that Cali is at the moment quantity 4 on the checklist of the 50 most harmful cities in the world (by murder charges). Shoot-outs between gangs nonetheless occur on the malls and even wandering the streets in the course of the day issues felt greater than just a little sketchy – watch out when you’re in Cali and if an area says “don’t go there”…don’t go there.

Take a metropolis tour

As with most of the main cities in Colombia, particularly those which have increased crime statistics, you would possibly really feel extra comfy exploring underneath the experience of an area tour information. For Cali, try the Grand City Tour.

Where to keep in Cali

On a finances: I attempted two places in Cali – first in San Antonio and later in a residential space (Santa Monica) and out of the 2 I felt a lot safer in the latter, particularly after darkish. In San Antonio, I used to be turned away from El Viajero by very impolite workers who refused to honour my reserving as a result of I hadn’t made it by means of HostelWorld. They’d offered all their beds on that web site and hadn’t bothered to examine bookings made elsewhere. I ended up staying in a candy (however empty) place a number of doorways down the road – sorry, can’t recall the identify. I wouldn’t keep at El Viajero now in the event that they paid me…although that’s instance of chopping my nostril off to spite my face as a result of the hostel did sound enjoyable inside. Sigh.

In Santa Monica, I stayed at Iguana, which was advisable to me, and which I’d fortunately advocate to you – the hammocks and free salsa courses had been highlights.

For resorts: As you would possibly count on for a thriving metropolis, there are a lot of enterprise resorts together with most of the huge manufacturers on provide in Cali. The 10 finest Cali resorts (in accordance to Trip Advisor) are right here. The Travelers’ Choice Award Winners embrace small however completely fashioned OfiHotel and Jardin Azul.

San Andres

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The second I noticed a picture of San Andres island in Colombia, I knew I needed to go. Just off the coast of Nicaragua, some 2 hours by air north of the mainland, San Andres promised an actual Caribbean vibe.

The downside was flight costs. Bordering on prohibitive (shut to £300/$500 round-trip for what would solely be a 3 or 4 night time jaunt), I virtually resigned myself to the truth that I wasn’t going to make it on this journey.

But, with one final push, and a devoted 2 hours of looking out, using each journey trick I do know (you possibly can examine my journey tips right here), I pulled it off – a return flight for £150/$240.

As the final place I visited in Colombia, I did little greater than lie on the seashore by day and sip beer at night time. And that was fairly sufficient. And it was additionally the proper ending to my two months in Colombia.

Go Scuba Diving

The huge draw of San Andres is all that Caribbean Ocean surrounding it and top-of-the-line issues to do in San Andreas is get off the island to go scuba diving. If you need to analysis and e-book forward, this Scuba Diving Experience consists of resort decide up.

Where to keep in San Andres

On a finances: It didn’t take me lengthy to recover from my hatred of El Viajero, as a result of I attempted out their San Andres hostel and I didn’t remorse it (helped that the workers had been beautifully pleasant). Within a brief stroll of the seashore, bars and eating places, and with views of the ocean from the bar (picture above), you possibly can’t beat El Viajero for worth for cash.

For resorts: You received’t discover any huge, acquainted chain manufacturers on San Andres, which is a big a part of the island’s allure. Instead, there’s a pleasant vary of native/impartial resorts and smaller guesthouses. Here are the 10 finest resorts in San Andres (in accordance to Trip Advisor). Hosteria Mar y Sol and Royal Decameron Isleno are two of the Travelers’ Awards Winners.

Other locations in Colombia

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By: portodaspartes

Despite spending a very long time in the nation, my sluggish tempo of journey (rattling work getting in the way in which) meant I didn’t make it to all the highest spots. Other widespread locations I might have like to have visited embrace:

  • Popayan: a colonial city generally known as the white metropolis thanks to it’s chalk white buildings. An amazing cease notably if you happen to’re en-route to Ecuador.
  • San Gil: it could shock you that I didn’t make it to the journey capital of Colombia however with British winter awaiting me in a number of weeks, I opted for San Andres’ seashores over a number of days in San Gil and I don’t remorse it.
  • Baricahara: red-roof buildings (above) and a colonial city, Barichara is one other place (shut to San Gil) that’s going to refill your digicam.
  • Minca: a preferred place to go to from Santa Marta, this different espresso nation is an efficient choice if you happen to don’t get the possibility to go to Salento. My one remorse in not going? I didn’t get to lie in one of many world’s largest hammocks at Casa Elemento!

Prefer a tour of Colombia?

I get plenty of messages from individuals who need to go to Colombia however are a bit uncertain about security. My recommendation – hop on a guided tour. Whether you add every week or so firstly of your journey to get you immersed and assured otherwise you take your entire journey this fashion, it may be a comforting feeling understanding an area has your again.

My favorite tour firm is Intrepid journey – small teams, nice costs and itineraries that can aid you get nearer to the native tradition, usually supplying you with these photograph moments you received’t get on different excursions. You can see Intrepid’s Colombia excursions right here.

Planning your journey: I used the Colombia Lonely Plane Guidebook. Although it’s not full of photos, it’s acquired all the main points you want together with practice and bus routes and instances in addition to metropolis maps.

If you’re taking a extra substantial journey by means of South America, the Lonely Planet South America on a Shoestring will probably be invaluable.

Have you been to Colombia? Any different highlights, suggestions or insider suggestions to share? Feel free to add them into the feedback beneath.

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Colombia Travel | Ultimate list of the best places to visit in Colombia including Colombia travel tips
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